A few years back while mum was working at the Africa Centre, I met a writer/director who asked mum if I could appear in her latest play – Goree: La Dernier Port. The writer who was orginally from Jamaica had just returned from Senegal and while there she had visited a slave house on Goree Island. Her experience moved her so much that by the time she cam back to England she had written the play. I can’t say I was as moved as she was; my experience was second hand but I have certainly thought about it ever since then and more so when I was in Belize.
Coming from East Africa I don’t think slavery and its impact is as central to me as colonisation. When I arrived in Belize, especially after I moved in with Miss Emily who is very proud of her Garifuna heritage I became more aware of how real slavery is and was to so many black people in the Caribbean region. For many of us it is merely a history lesson, yet for some of us it is our history.
The slave house on Goree Island is now a musuem and for those of us who can’t make it to Senegal there is a website which has an amazing virtual tour. Do take the time to view it, it is an incredible insight into just how cruel human beings can be and a living testimony to the strength of black people who have managed to rise inspite of all our many struggles.